Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Whole Wheat Espresso Date Bread

Normally, I would make this bread in the fall or winter. However, since there still is a persistent chill in the air on some of the Spring days here in the New York area, I found it to be the perfect recipe for the weather. Nevermind how delicious it is. OK. Mind a bit. 

This dense and crusty bread has a hint of coffee flavor and is studded with sweet, juicy dates.  The bread is practically a meal in itself. Spread it with butter or cream cheese for breakfast or snack. Or serve it at brunch. 

I found the original recipe in a German cooking magazine years ago and it's been waiting patiently its turn for a go on this blog. The original recipe used three types of flour. I went straight up for the whole wheat version. Maybe the mix of flours would have made the bread less dense. What do I know? I'm no bread baking genius. 

If you want to be super fancy and have time, add spices or citrus flavor to the butter or cream cheese to top the bread. Butter or cream cheese with cinnamon or orange flavor would take the taste to the next level. 

Be mindful this recipe has a three-hour total rise time. So be sure to schedule your other daily tasks around that.  No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen because they forgot to check how long the dough needs to rise. #dontlookatme.

By all means, go nutty. Add your favorite nut variety to the bread or favorite nut mix. You can also swap out the dates for other dried fruits. Dried cherries would work well.

This whole wheat bread recipe is now officially added it to my "favorite bread recipes to make" list. I will put it on my Thanksgiving menu options as well. 

Whole Wheat Espresso Date Bread
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rise Time: 3 hours
Bake time: 45 Minutes
Yield: 1 large loaf - 12 slices


  • 3+3/4 cups (17.6 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 oz lukewarm espresso
  • 3/4  cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped into small pieces

  • In a large bowl place the flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt and ground ginger.
  • Mix in the milk, espresso, and butter and use the dough hook of your mixer or knead by hand into a smooth dough, about 10 minutes.
  • The dough should be soft but not sticky.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and stow in a warm place for 2 hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a large rectangle.
  • Arrange the dates on top of the dough then fold it in half, enclosing the chopped dates and knead for another 5 minutes.
  • Pat the dough out into a large oval and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Re-cover with the dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 465 degrees F. 
  • Place a small cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven with 1/2 cup water in it. 
  • Use kitchen shears to snip a large cut lengthwise down the middle of the bread and then make 3 smaller diagonal cuts on each side of the large cut.
  • Sprinkle with flour and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 3 minutes, then prop the oven door slightly open and bake for another 12 minutes. 
  • Turn the oven down to 410 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes.  
  • Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve. 

Try these other delicious whole wheat bread recipes:

Whole Wheat Ramp Walnut Bread
Whole Wheat Red Beet Bread
Buttermilk Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

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